stalin etc

Jose G. Perez jgperez at
Sun Aug 8 22:02:38 MDT 1999

>>it is hard to avoid
being aware of the predicament of the members of the Japanese
government who in the last weeks of the war desperately tried to
find out exactly what it was that the Americans wanted of them,
until the realisation began to dawn that they didn't want anything
at all, and that all that was required of the Japanese people
was to be live targets in history's biggest-ever shooting gallery.
Japanese ministers spent much time grappling with the
fine print of the Potsdam declaration wherein the Allies
said that they did not wish to exterminate the Japanese
race or destroy its nationhood. I wonder whether the trauma
of that period will ever be effaced or whether it has become
a permanent part of Japanese national psychology.<<

Well, somehow I've managed to avoid being aware of the "predicament" of the
Japanese imperialists in the closing weeks of World War II. What the
Americans wanted --and it was the Americans calling the shots--, was
unconditional surrender and unconditional acceptance of occupation.

But the Japanese rulers still harbored hopes --illusions, really-- that the
United States might accept a negotiated end to the conflict, given the
tremendous cost/difficulty of an invasion of Japan. I think the Japanese
rulers by then had amply demonstrated that they were willing to sacrifice
the lives of millions of Japanese toilers for the sake of empire. If they
had had the atom bomb, and nuking Hiroshima themselves would have meant a
different end to the war, they would not have hesitated a minute to do it.
Ditto for Truman vis a vis San Francisco or Milwaukee, under similar

The Americans got the bomb and, of course, did not hesitate to use it -- and
post haste. Using it twice was criminality squared, not just doubled, and of
course, that was the point. The U.S. rulers wanted to show no consideration,
no hesitation, no mercy in using their newfound weapon of terror.

In addition, they had no desire to share the spoils of the Japanese empire
with the Soviets. As for the tens or hundreds of thousands of dead
civilians, the U.S. and the British rulers had shown in Dresden they could
care less even in the case of white people. The atom bombing of Hiroshima
and Nagasaki were no "worse" or "better" than similar war crimes carried out
by the U.S. and Britain against German people, or by Nazis against the
Soviet people. (The Holocaust I would put in a different category but that
is a different issue).

I mourn for the victims of the atomic bombing in Hiroshima and Nagasaki just
as I mourn for all the victims in and out of uniform in that war, beginning
with the millions upon millions of soviets who died. But I feel no empathy
whatsoever for the members of the Japanese or German governments or general
staffs who were quite happy to roll the dice of war but were
oh-so-devastated when they didn't get the hoped-for results.


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